Sophia Livecchi: Our Guatemalan Mission Through a Child's Eyes
Sophia is the 12-year-old daughter of my friend, Joe Livecchi. She and her family joined us on our service trip during the holidays and it was incredible to see the experience through the eyes of an American child. Here is her blog.
My first day in Guatemala was great! First we went to a Guatemalan school. The kids were so nice! We were playing soccer and my dad sprained his ankle, and he went to go sit down. All of the children started gathering around him and offered him help.
After I got to know the kids better. They were all so nice! Most people had 5 or 6 siblings in their family. I showed some of the girls my iPod touch, and they were fascinated. Their eyes lit up like stars. They took pictures, looked at my pictures, and played games. They had never seen something so magical like this before. With no electricity and power for these children, they have never seen an electronic device in their whole life.
Afterwards our group put up a piñata, the kids went crazy!! They loved the excitement of the happiness in the air... and the candy! I was so happy seeing them happy. Some kids have never even had candy in their whole life - this was their first time. Some girls went over to my dad and offered him candy, because they felt really bad about his ankle. We gave them pizza and soda.
Next, all of the children lined up, and we handed out plastic toothbrushes. You should have seen the look on their small faces, they were overjoyed. After the piñata, all of the kids said goodbye to us and said thank you and walked home. I started cleaning up the trash from the candy wrappers and piñata shreds, when the cutest 3-year-old boy came up to me with a handful of trash. Together, we cleaned up the grounds of the school. The best part was, the whole time when he was cleaning up the trash, he did it with a big smile on his face.
As we were leaving the school the little boy waved to me. He was all-alone. I wondered if he had a place to go. I wonder if he had family. I often go home thinking about all of the flaws in my life. They seem big to me, but really, they are nothing compared to the kids here and still, they are so happy.
Why can't I be like them and see life with a positive view all the time when I have everything and they have nothing? I don't even think about a toothbrush, I just receive it. I would never be overjoyed to get a toothbrush, yet they are grateful to receive anything, even if it's small. Now whenever I think about a flaw in my life, I will think about these kids. No parents, so poor, no food... I hope I can become grateful for everything I receive, grateful for my life, and keep an open mind to my problems.
On our second day we visited a really poor community center. We got such an amazing welcome! All 400 people stood around us in a circle shouting "bienevidos". I couldn't believe how many children were there. I got to know a lot of the kids, who were very nice. There was this one girl who really touched my heart. She told me that she had no mother or father, and she lived with her sister who is my age, but sometimes her grandmother comes over also. Even though she has lost her parents, she has not lost her happiness. She is a beautiful girl who deserves a better life.
Grace, my sister also met a little girl her age named Jocelyn. They didn't understand what they were saying to each other, but they were inseparable. Always holding hands and laughing. We fed the kids snacks and they were so happy! We ran out at the end because apparently kids who are living on the streets who were starving came in the community center.
Gosh... I suddenly just figured out this whole new world of poverty. Nobody on the other side realizes this world exists, not really. If everyone could get the experience that I got to come here... The other half would be more grateful, and this half could get more help.
Afterwards we went to visit Jocelyn's home. They didn't let us see most of their house. They showed us their roof and backyard. They had a cute bunny and cat and dog :) They were moving out of their house into a smaller house because Jocelyn did not have a father anymore.
We needed to go, so my parents finally told Jocelyn and her grandmother the big news. My family was paying for Jocelyn's school tuition!! They were very happy! They walked us to our bus and Jocelyn gave me and Grace a gift. She said "remember me by this" hugged us, and started walking back to her house. I watched her and her grandmother and her sister walk back to their house. I wanted to cry for them.
A girl with nothing gave us a gift. She is a beautiful caring girl. Hopefully now she will get an education and experience the world.
Finally we went to a school with 62 kids. When we got in, they told us to line up. All 62 kids came and gave our group hugs! It was too sweet. Afterwards we got a tour of the school and I donated $70 in Guatemala money to help get the school more teachers. I hope that my donation will help them.
If you want to help - like Sophia did - please donate and help us help more kids!